Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Police Surveillance Powers (that will become law without you knowing about it)

Plan to scrap fraud office under fire

The Government has been accused of making it harder for investigators to probe high-profile finance company collapses on the eve of a controversial move to scrap the Serious Fraud Office.

Parliament's law and order select committee is today expected to recommend the office's abolition, as part of the Government's plan to set up a new organised crime agency within the police.

The committee's chairman, NZ First MP Ron Mark, has previously expressed concern about the move, but it is believed his party's leader, Winston Peters, has agreed to support it.

Mr Peters has never forgiven the office for its decision not to prosecute those involved in high-profile investigations, including the "Winebox" tax case; allegations of corruption in the fishing industry; and claims of irregularities in National Party funds.

But supporters of the office say Mr Peters' stance is unfortunate, given its relatively successful track record in cracking down on white-collar crime, and its current investigations into the failure of investment companies Bridgecorp, Blue Chip, and Five Star Consumer Finance.

Former SFO director David Bradshaw has been scathing of the plan, which he believes has been driven by the Government's desire to crack down on gangs.

He also believes new investigative procedures that will be put in place are a test run for new search and surveillance powers the Government has said it intends to give to all police.

Which is what I’ve been saying from the start – why dump the SFO right when we have 25 finance companies falling over contracts that not even the experts could understand, why disband an organization with the power to veto your right to silence if you want to destroy gangs – and the reason this department is separate from the Police is because this Department has unique powers that YOU DO NOT WANT TO GIVE TO THE WIDER POLICE FORCE IN A DEMOCRACY! And here we have the Former Serious Fraud Office Director TELLING you that the Police are going to use this as a test run for new search and surveillance powers that will be expanded to ALL Police – folks, wake the fuck up.

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